Deadliest driving season looms
The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is commonly called “the 100 deadliest days” because of the high volume of fatal car accidents, especially for teen drivers.
Already this year, there have been 301 traffic fatalities in Illinois, 19 more than there were at this time in 2014, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Safety experts expect more people to die in traffic accidents this summer compared to last.
“Road conditions aren’t usually a problem during the summer, but there are more people out driving, drinking, partying and riding motorcycles,” says Dr. Thomas Mullin, emergency medicine physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill.
A number of factors can be attributed to the increase in fatal crashes during the summer months, one of which is the influx of teen drivers who are out of school for the summer. Teens have plenty of free time, but they do not have very much driving experience, which puts them at a higher risk for car accidents, Dr. Mullin says.
Teens represent 7 percent of the licensed population, yet they account for 20 percent of car accidents, according to the American Automobile Association.
Two other factors that contribute to dangerous summer driving conditions are the increase in drivers commuting for vacation and the higher number of alcohol-impaired drivers on the road, Dr. Mullin says. There’s no sure way to completely avoid being involved in a car accident, but by taking proper safety precautions, the chances of being in an accident and the damage that could result can be greatly decreased.
“Any time of year, you can’t go wrong with defensive driving,” he says. “Be aware of your surroundings and be on guard.”
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